Models: Five Steps to Becoming a Hopeful Suicide Girl.

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Tatianaa in her first set ‘If I Could’

I’m often asked for tips and advice about organising and arranging your first shoot for Suicide Girls – obviously, this is usually by girls wanting to book me to shoot their first set (which is ace, promo: my website is here) but sometimes that just isn’t possible or maybe they already have someone else in mind. Often it’s a boyfriend or friend which is totally fine or maybe they don’t even live in the UK. However, I’m most often approached by girls that have had bad experiences shooting their first set which can usually be down to three things; a creepy photographer, a bad photographer or a pushy photographer. This is why I think choosing your photographer is imperative to creating a set you will love – although a ‘pushy photographer’ can also be code for not being clear on what you want or, more importantly, what you don’t! I’ll discuss this in the further sections. Without the right photographer, you may be left with little guidance on how the images should look aesthetically, too. If they are not familiar with what SG tend to like, they aren’t going to be able to advise you as well as someone who works with the website regularly. Like anything else in life, you’re going to know how much or little guidance you need when it comes to organising your shoot – so do take that into account.

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Sithis in her second set ‘Cerulean’

If this is the first SG Blog of mine you have read, I’d advise you first check out What Is ‘Suicide Girls’?  followed by my post about the Pros and Cons before deciding whether or not it’s for you. If you think it is, then let’s get that first shoot sorted!

  1. Sign up to Suicide Girls – this is free and it’s worth starting the process early as it will mean deciding on a name for yourself and this could take you some time. You might want to use your own name or a separate model name if you’d like to keep your name a secret but lots have been taken already so it’s going to require some thought and rely on what’s available. Familiarise yourself with the FAQs and make sure your IDs and Model Release forms are sorted before you shoot. It just means there’s less to faff with later. You are now a Hopeful, welcome!
  2. Decide your nudity level. This is going to require a little honesty sesh – have this with yourself and repeat any necessary information later with whoever you choose to shoot with. What sort of nudity are you happy with and where do you draw the line? It’s important you decide this for yourself because it will give you the confidence to be clear with your photographer when they ask you (which they should) I check with every girl I shoot *before* taking the images what they do or don’t want on show – sometimes girls have shot a few completely nude sets but when I actually give them the option and ask their opinion, I will find out that they never actually wanted to shoot fully nude and would prefer not to. That sucks, it’s really sad that so many girls have felt pushed into shots they don’t so learn the power of ‘NO’ now. You can say no to a certain pose on the day, you can say no to certain photos before the set is submitted. I confirm images with my girls so many times I’m sure they get sick of hearing from me but I think it’s so important that I don’t submit anything that they are not keen on and that decision needs to be clear and yours alone – it’s your body, you decide. On the other hand, there have been times in the past where I’ve assumed a girl wouldn’t want to shoot nude (as I hadn’t seen her shoot nudes previously) and I was wrong, which meant I wasted a lot of time on certain shots trying to ensure that nothing was too visible when, actually, she was happy for it to be. Most girls shooting for SG are happy to be photographed completely no-holds-barred nude but that doesn’t mean you have to feel that way on your first shoot – if you do, though, that’s great too.
  3. Choose your photographer, or maybe even speak to a couple about your options and rates etc. Try and find someone whose work you like as a collective, don’t chose someone just because of one amazing photo they took of your favourite model. Really, you want to find someone that is a consistently good all-rounder.  There are a lot of factors to consider other than whether you like their work or not – they could be your favourite option but maybe you can’t afford to work with them or sometimes simply distance or timescale can be an issue. Note than many photographers work months in advance with their bookings – my own average is usually about 2 months, I can often squeeze the odd person in before that but roughly from when you start talking to me about shooting it’s going to be two months before it’s actually shoot day but this will differ for everyone depending on how busy they are or how regularly they shoot. Please try and speak to other girls for honest reviews if you are working with someone you don’t know as meeting up with any stranger off the internet is dangerous but meeting someone to take photos of you naked is going to make you feel extra vulnerable so try and make sure you’ve found someone you are going to be comfortable working with. You can’t always take someones portfolio as a review, either, they may have paid to work with those models and those models may have refused to ever work with them again – most of my bookings come from positive word of mouth, I rarely post that I have slots to fill or anything like that because I don’t really need to and I’m sure many other photographers are the same so keep your eyes and ears peeled for anything that might help you decide. Most of it is common sense but it never hurts to get others opinions – if you’re having trouble finding someone, SG have a Staff Photographer List (worldwide) and you can also email them for help as they may have trusted contacts near-by that, whilst not Staff, still have worked with lots of girls successfully enough to be deemed safe. If you have any questions for your photographer, ask them now. Be clear on what you are getting from them or what you are expected to provide. One thing to make clear is there are no guarantees that any photographer can shoot you a set that will make you a Suicide Girl – I hear about photographers saying this all the time. I’m Staff and I still cannot promise you that a set shot by me is going to make you a Suicide Girl – it might, and many do, but lot’s don’t. In reality, we could shoot 20 sets and you might never be chosen as a Suicide Girl. Make peace with that before you shoot and give yourself the respect and reward to actually shoot something you like first.
  4. Find a location. This could be anything – your own place, a friends house or a hotel. I’ve shot in the forest, in bars, on the beach, on rooftops, gardens, kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, in pools and in lots of hotels so there are many options. Depending on who your photographer is, you may even find that they are able to sort this for you as that’s usually what I do if the girl contacting me doesn’t have something sorted already. Always try to have back up plans – especially if your plan is to shoot outside or somewhere risky.
  5. Book your shoot date. This may not end up being the same photographer or location as you originally had in mind as you’re not always going to be able to match up on dates. Maybe you have a week off work the same time your chosen photographer happens to be out of the country, maybe their waiting list is too long or the location you like is too far for them. Hopefully all your research into photographers and locations has matched up how you hoped and you have been able to tie both down for the same date – if so, you will likely have deposits to pay. If you are having to pay for a location and your photographer then do be prepared to pay a deposit, this will be taken off the total fee so as well as guaranteeing you the date you’ve discussed it will get some of the costs out of the way early! Most photographers (myself included) will not save dates for you without a deposit – we have too many stitch ups. Even with a deposit, the last four trips I’ve made to London, three of those four dates I’ve had someone not turn up for their shoot slot which is a pain in the ass for everyone. It’s a waste of my time, your money and the potential shoot slot for someone else. By this stage you should be completely sure that this photographer and this date is what you want because deposits are non-refundable. Commit yourself, get excited.
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Raye in her 6th set ‘Metamorphosis’

Following these five steps, you have officially planned your first shoot. Now it’s time for the fun part – planning the actual shoot itself! Please do follow to receive notifications/emails once new posts go live, share this blog with your friends and leave comments and questions below – I always make an effort to reply as soon as possible.

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SiobhanD in her first set ‘British Coastline’

Some useful links in the meantime:

FAQs

Model Application

My SG Portfolio

My Personal Portfolio

Other posts in this series:

What Is ‘Suicide Girls’?

How Can I Become a Suicide Girl? Pros and Cons.

Photographers: Shooting for Suicide Girls in Five Steps

 

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